Friday, November 30, 2018

Burda 6849 Striped Shirt

This is the third shirt I sewed from the Burda 6849 pattern and this one is for me. The color - dark stripes, is so out of my comfort zone, that everyone was (unpleasantly) surprised I had picked it out of the sea of fabric in the shop, but I was curious and tempted to have something different in my wardrobe. And I truly like it. My only concern is that the fabric seems prone to wrinkling. I ironed the shirt just before going out to take a few pictures of it in front of our building and was unpleasantly surprised to see the shirt was all wrinkled on the photos. And yes, we had our first snow in the city and it has been quite cold this week, well below 0C.

I sewed the shirt with my now usual modifications - added arrow patches to the sleeves, shortened to reflect my small stature, flat felled seams. I also played with direction of the stripes a little to add some interest to the shirt.

I bought one more piece of fabric - thick plaid cotton lumberjack style, which I intend to turn into a tunic length shirt for me. Sewing is a bit addictive :)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

FO: Wisteria Sweater

A photo presentation of my latest most favourite sweater - Wisteria. It is my own design and I am truly proud with it. The sweater is boxy - a form I wouldn't have thought I would like on myself, as I definitely prefer tailored clothes, but this one I love, go figure. My initial attempt at knitting the yarn was in fact a fitting raglan sweater, which I had almost finished, when I abandoned the idea and frogged it. And I am so, so glad I did - now I have a sweater I love and I am actually going to wear, a lot.
It is knit bottom up to the armholes in reverse stockinette, then I knit the sleeves to the armholes, adding a juicy fat cable for interest and from the armholes up I knitted all the parts together in a composite raglan, preserving the cable up to the neckpiece. When I reached the neckline, I cast off the central stitches on the front and started decreasing to round the neckline, converting from knitting in the round to knitting back and forth.

The whole weight of the sweater is only 140 g - it's like a light super soft cloud around the body and it is surprisingly warm. It was 5C (41F) when we took these pictures today and husband was wearing a wool hat, winter jacket and his hood on and I was posing just in my light sweater and I swear I was not cold (too much :) ).

The yarn is my own composition out of two very thin Italian bobbin yarns -
  • Zegna Baruffa Cashwool 100% merino 1500 m / 100 g and 
  • Zegna Baruffa Mousse 70% merino 30% polyamide 1400 m / 100 g 
so the average thickness of my resulting yarn was 750 m / 100g, probably the thinnest yarn I've handknit so far. The color of the yarn is also my own handdyeing, using a concoction of red, blue and black to produce plum and some diluted red to add a bit of pink.

Pattern: Wisteria Sweater (personal pattern)
Yarn: Zegna Baruffa Cashwool and Mousse, held together, 140 g
Needle: 3 mm rib, 3.25 mm body
Time to knit: from April to November

Thursday, November 22, 2018

50 Shades of Pink

Last week I finally finished a sweater out of hand-dyed yarn I started back in April and I just had to fill with stitches those needles again. I had a bobbin of 300 g of white Pecci Filati Pacchero with a very interesting content - 16% alpaca superfine, 26% merino, 13% viscose, 30% acrylic, 15% nylon. I knew some of the fibers would dye perfectly with acid dyes, some not at all (like the 30% acrylic), but I still wanted to dye it and see what would happen. I wound the yarn into three 100 g skeins and went downtown in search of red dyes.

I applied a two step method for dyeing this yarn - first low immersion dyeing with the four shades of red acid dyes, sold domestically:
  • red, 
  • scarlet - a bit orangy red, 
  • pink - kind of diluted red, I'm not sure the chemical composition is different from the red dye
  • bordeaux - which seems to be red and blue and makes for purple nuances.
This is  one of the skeins, dripping wet, after the first stage of dyeing.

After all of the three skeins had been dyed in red, I made some resist knots on the skeins and dipped them in very diluted solutions of grey dye to get a richer palette of shades. The final yarn, dry and ready to knit, is a bit pale, as only about 50% of it took any dye, but I think it's lovely and will make a nice light sweater.

I've made a raw design already and last night I started sampling to get the gauge. The yarn is quite thin - 500 m / 100 g, so I think 3 mm needles for the rib and 3.25 mm for the body make a good texture. I might sample it further with 3.5 for the body, just in case :)

It's been rainy and cold lately

and I have TWO finished projects to photograph and show you. Let's hope it will be sunnier during the weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Dupevitza Peak in November, 2018

First winter cold day this season. We had a great invigorating hike up Lulin mountain to its summit - peak Dupevitza and back down by All Saints Chapel and St Cyril and Methodius Monastery along a circular trail. It was freezingly beautiful up on the peak, with all the frost covered trees and bushes, and still late autumn downhill. And as a bonus to our nice walk we filled four bottles with mineral water from the natural mineral spring along our way in Gorna Banya and bought a few kilograms of nice farm-grown apples from the local market. Win-win!

Friday, November 16, 2018

My Latest Apple Cake

I came upon this apple cake recipe somewhat by chance last week and today is the third time I'm baking it - it's SO good (half of it is already eaten!). My initial idea was to make a cake, using the handful of walnuts and raisins I had in the fridge. I mixed a recipe of eggs, milk, oil and flour and added the walnuts and raisins, but the batter seemed a little runny. So, I cored two apples, cut them in the chopper and added them to the batter. The apple cake turned very juicy, aromatic and sweet.

Here are the ingredients - I definitely want to preserve this recipe:
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 g sugar
  • 120 g milk
  • 60 g sunflower oil
  • 200 g flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 10 g mixed spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper - I grind these together and make the mix myself)
  • 300 g (two average sized) chopped apples
  • 50 g walnuts 
  • 50 g raisins

Beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the oil and the milk. Mix the flour with the baking powder and the spices and add to the wet ingredients. Stir in the walnuts, raisins and apples. Pour the batter into a well greased baking form and put in a preheated oven at 180C. Bake until the toothpick test indicates it's ready. Serve with tea, coffee or milk and enjoy :)